We need a sense of belonging. Joining a nonprofit organization gives us a sense of purpose, support and satisfaction.
Becoming a member serves our needs, promotes our communities and helps advance great causes.
There are various ways to serve a nonprofit. You can volunteer your time – helping with projects, speaking to groups or working on administrative tasks. You also can support one through donations or other gifts – providing the financial resources they need to serve their cause.
When choosing an organization to join, though, you should carefully review its purpose and mission. After all, you are giving yourself to help make it successful.
So why become a member of a nonprofit group? Here are some reasons why.
Working on a common cause nourishes our soul. Human beings enjoy sharing successful outcomes with other people.
According to the website GoodTherapy.com, group relationships help us to feel needed, provide a sense of belonging and give us a sense of identity. “We learn from others’ experiences and insight, and we learn together by pursuing new experiences alongside those we befriend.”
Become an Advocate
Whether trying to push for social or political change, groups can marshal resources to effect legislation or support the election of our representatives to government. This is an important part of the democratic process, which dates back to the 18th century in England. Having people engaged in our political process is good for our country.
For example, the Indiana Retired Teachers Association is an active lobbyist in the General Assembly. Members have a voice in the Legislature through engagement with legislators and testimony on pension legislation.
Enjoy Financial Perks
Beyond the emotional satisfaction, there can be economic reasons to join a group. Companies that provide goods and services (such as supplemental insurance coverage, travel and restaurant discounts, cell phone plans) often work with organizations on special deals for members. If the organization has a large number of members, it can negotiate better prices – because they can deliver more sales for the benefit provider.
One of the larger benefit companies, Association Member Benefit Advisors (AMBA) began offering supplemental insurance policies for retired teachers in 1981. The company continued to grow and today offers long-term care coverage, dental and vision plans, whole life insurance policies and discounts on electronics, hotels, restaurants and cruises. AMBA offers these benefits to IRTA members.
Experience Better Physical Health
Studies show that having a good social network extends your life, keeps you healthy, and staves off mental deterioration. PsychologyToday.com notes that connecting with friends in a group may boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia.
Social connectedness appears to be one of the more important factors in heart disease prevention. According to ShareCare.com, a Swedish study found that a person's social contacts – such as community involvement -- were a better predictor of the risk of heart attack than any of the accepted biomedical risk factors such as hypertension and an adverse blood cholesterol profile.
Experience Something New
Even as we age, learning never stops. Becoming active in a group can help you develop governance skills – committee management, business planning. The knowledge and experience others bring to the organization can engage and stimulate your intellect. Groups that have a diverse membership present an excellent opportunity to learn about other generations and cultures.
If you have a passion and want to join a cause, search for the right group on the Internet or ask friends. Social media is a great place to discover organizations that share your interests.
IRTA is a great organization for retired educators (and current ones) who want to protect their retirement benefits and work for the betterment of Indiana schools.
Remember: Groups can do more for the individuals than the individuals can do for themselves.